Patricia Mertz Esswein

Patricia Mertz Esswein

Contributing Writer, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Esswein joined Kiplinger in May 1984 as director of special publications and managing editor of Kiplinger Books. In 2004, she began covering real estate for writing about the housing market, buying and selling a home, getting a mortgage, and home improvement. Prior to joining Kiplinger, Esswein wrote and edited for a monthly magazine covering sports and recreation in upstate New York. She holds a BA degree from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minn., and an MA in magazine journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
A COVID Storm Hits Senior Living
A group of people gathered around a table
Coronavirus and Your Money

A COVID Storm Hits Senior Living

The pandemic has created significant challenges for all types of senior living communities. Because of that, it's more important than ever to review a…
March 3, 2021
A Retirement Home Is a Tiny House in the Kids’ Backyard
retired man sits on the porch of his tiny home working on his laptop
Making Your Money Last

A Retirement Home Is a Tiny House in the Kids’ Backyard

A tiny home in retirement could be a more-affordable way to downsize and still be close to family.
December 31, 2020
Planning to Sell Your Home in Retirement? Downsize Costs Along With Space
Senior couple buying or selling a house shaking hands with Realtor
Budgeting

Planning to Sell Your Home in Retirement? Downsize Costs Along With Space

In this hot real estate market, consider the costs of buying and selling a house along with the expenses associated with your new digs.
November 13, 2020
Retirees, Make the Most of Your Home Equity
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
Budgeting

Retirees, Make the Most of Your Home Equity

A home equity loan or home equity line of credit may be perfect for your retirement finances. But don't delay; a fee increase is coming.
November 2, 2020
26 Things Home Buyers Will Hate About Your House
Buying a new home
real estate

26 Things Home Buyers Will Hate About Your House

As a home seller, you don't want to let the small -- or big -- fixes around your house that have added up over the years sabotage your bottom line dur…
October 16, 2020
Retirees, Create An Emergency Fund for Rental Property
Business Costs & Regulation

Retirees, Create An Emergency Fund for Rental Property

Build a cushion to protect your income from an unforeseen crisis.
September 15, 2020
12 Things Every Home Buyer Should Do
Confident male real estate agent gestures toward a beautiful view out the window of a new home. Interested potential homeowners attentively listen to the real estate agent.
real estate

12 Things Every Home Buyer Should Do

Buying a home may be one of the biggest purchases you will ever make.
June 12, 2020
11 Things Every Home Seller Should Do
An arrow shaped red "Home For Sale" sign in front of a suburban 2-story home.The green grass and blue sky is visible in the background.
real estate

11 Things Every Home Seller Should Do

As a home seller, your goal is to sell your property quickly for the most money possible.
June 12, 2020
The Complete Guide to Decluttering
a woman organizes clothes in living room of her home.
real estate

The Complete Guide to Decluttering

Spending a lot of time at home? What better time to get organized?
May 8, 2020
Retirees, Sell Your Home Without a Hassle
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
retirement

Retirees, Sell Your Home Without a Hassle

If you need a quick sale so you can move to a better or different situation, you have some quick-turnaround options.
April 6, 2020
Trim the Cost of Pet Care
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
Smart Buying

Trim the Cost of Pet Care

Your furry friends can run up a big tab over their lifetime, but we'll show you how to keep expenses in check.
February 21, 2020
Does Rental Income Count for IRA Contributions?
investing

Does Rental Income Count for IRA Contributions?

Rental income is considered "passive," and traditional and Roth IRA contributions must come from "active" income, or compensation from working.
November 9, 2019
How to Get Rid of a Timeshare
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
Travel

How to Get Rid of a Timeshare

It’s not easy, and you will never get back what you paid for it.
October 3, 2019
Discover Your Roots With DNA Testing
spending

Discover Your Roots With DNA Testing

DNA testing offers insights into your family tree, but watch out for unintended consequences.
October 3, 2019
Unconventional Mortgage Loans Are Making a Comeback
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
loans

Unconventional Mortgage Loans Are Making a Comeback

Lenders are making it easier to get loans, but a repeat of the housing crisis isn’t in the cards.
October 3, 2019
How to Complain and Get Results
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
Making Your Money Last

How to Complain and Get Results

Impersonal customer service makes it hard to get help. Here's the script for success.
September 17, 2019
Market for Home Solar Systems Heats Up
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
Tax Breaks

Market for Home Solar Systems Heats Up

With falling costs and hefty tax credits for solar systems, more homeowners are harnessing the sun to save money.
August 6, 2019
Now Is a Good Time to Refinance
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
interest rates

Now Is a Good Time to Refinance

You may benefit even if you can’t reduce your mortgage rate by a full percentage point.
August 1, 2019
Claremont, Calif.: A Smart Place to Retire
retirement

Claremont, Calif.: A Smart Place to Retire

Explore Claremont’s vast range hiking trails or try out lectures and performances at one of its seven colleges.
July 9, 2019
Richmond, Va.: A Smart Place to Retire
real estate

Richmond, Va.: A Smart Place to Retire

Opportunities in the arts abound in this vibrant eastern city for retirees.
July 9, 2019
How to Protect Your Home From Deed Theft
home

How to Protect Your Home From Deed Theft

You don’t need to pay a company to protect you from criminals who put their names on your home title. You can protect yourself for free with these ste…
June 27, 2019
Financial Rules of Thumb to Consider Breaking
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
Financial Planning

Financial Rules of Thumb to Consider Breaking

We found five rules that you may want to bend—or ignore.
June 18, 2019
Get a Good Last-Minute Travel Deal
A person sitting at a desk, holding a pen, with a calculator, piggy bank and a stack of coins
Travel

Get a Good Last-Minute Travel Deal

You can still save on end-of-summer or fall vacations.
June 5, 2019
15 Things Home Buyers Will Hate About Your House
home

15 Things Home Buyers Will Hate About Your House

April 26, 2019
11 Reasons You Need Umbrella Insurance Right Now
insurance

11 Reasons You Need Umbrella Insurance Right Now

An umbrella insurance policy can protect your assets and future earnings from expensive lawsuits.
April 18, 2019
Zillow Moves to Improve Home Price Estimates
real estate

Zillow Moves to Improve Home Price Estimates

First free online home pricing site aims to tweak its accuracy and avoid unrealistic expectations of homeowners.
April 9, 2019
How to Make a Million (or More!)
Photo of U.S. Currency
business

How to Make a Million (or More!)

Four success stories — and guidance on how you, too, could reach this milestone.
April 5, 2019